So far this year, there have been eight unconfirmed reported of Spotted Lanternflies in Huntingdon County, according to information from the state Department of Agriculture (PDA).
However, according to Shannon Powers, PDA spokeperson, that’s out of 62,924 public reports of Spotted Lanternfly statewide.
“In the same time period for Huntingdon County, there was just one public report from this same time period in 2019,” she said. “I don’t know at this time if they were confirmed to be Spotted Lanternfly.
“In the same time period in 2019, there were just 25,409 reports of Spotted Lanternfly in the state,” added Powers. “Awareness has definitely increased, though it’s difficult to measure any increase in the population this year.”
Powers also emphasized the fact that reports outside of the 26 quarantined counties are generally false.
“People are mistaking other insects for Spotted Lanternfly,” she said. “In the 12 counties added to the quarantine this year, about a third of reports are accurate. In counties like Lancaster and Lebanon, where the quarantine has been in place for some time, reports are about 90 percent accurate. People recognize the insect because it is a nuisance when they are outdoors, or it threatens their livelihoods.”
She also discussed how inspectors follow up with any reports that are received.
“Teams of PDA and USDA inspectors follow up on every report in newly quarantined counties and outside the quarantine, treating confirmed sightings as appropriate,” said Powers. “The teams are also conducting proactive surveys for insects in the 12 newly quarantined counties and counties not yet quarantined.”
In early March, the state added the county in addition to 11 other counties, but the added counties only have isolated infestations, not widespread, according to Powers.
“The 14 counties previously quarantined had widespread insect populations,” she said. “The detailed map of quarantined counties serves to illustrate how the insect travels — by hitchhiking with people traveling from infested areas to new areas. It does not fly great distances, but hitches a ride on vehicles and in cargo and people’s belongings.”
Powers wants to remind people that people need to be on the lookout for the Spotted Lanternfly, especially traveling through the quarantined areas like Huntingdon County.
“It is crucial for anyone traveling in and outside the quarantined counties to be vigilant, and ‘look before you leave’ to prevent transporting insects to a new home,” she said. “It is also important to report insects to 1-888-422-3359 or on the Penn State University Cooperative Extension website.”
Learn all about Spotted Lanternfly, how to recognize and control the insect on your property and where you travel at www.agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly or on the Penn State Extension website.